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Iran says ‘retired’ Guards among Syria hostages

“Retired” members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and army are among 48 Iranians taken hostage in Syria by rebels on the weekend, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday, the ISNA news agency reported. But he denied the rebels’ allegation that the Iranians had been on a military mission,…

Mexico destroys 8 million chickens amid bird flu outbreak

Eight million chickens have so far been slaughtered in Mexico and 66 million more were vaccinated in a bid to contain a bird flu outbreak in the west of the country, authorities said. The agriculture ministry said in a statement that during the vaccination process in the Los Altos region…

Philippine capital battles deadly floods

More than 800,000 people in and around the Philippine capital battled deadly floods Wednesday as more rain fell, with neck-deep waters trapping slum dwellers and the wealthy elite on rooftops. Monsoon rains that have pounded Manila for more than a week eased slightly overnight, but the government said between 60…

Seven Cameroonian athletes defect during Olympics

Seven athletes from Cameroon have “defected” in London where some were participating in the 2012 Olympics, Cameroon media reported Tuesday, citing an official. The disappearance of the seven athletes was reported on the website of the state daily Cameroon Tribune. According to the head of Cameroon’s Olympics delegation, David Ojong,…

Venezuela candidate slams Chavez over Nazi accusations

CARACAS — Venezuela’s leading opposition candidate — whose grandmother is a Holocaust survivor — on Tuesday slammed President Hugo Chavez’s accusations that he is tied to Nazi groups. It was the latest in a series of intensely personal exchanges in the brutally negative campaign, in which the youthful Henrique Capriles…

Hungarian Nazi suspect cleared of 1941 deportation

BUDAPEST — Hungarian prosecutors cleared Tuesday a 97-year-old of organising the 1941 deportation of 300 Jews but were still probing more serious allegations about his later World War II activities. Accusations that Laszlo Csatary sent the 300 to their deaths at the Kamyanets-Podilsky camp in Ukraine were “groundless” since he…

Christians, but not Muslims, can pray in Israel holy sites: court

JERUSALEM — An Israeli court on Tuesday backed an Israeli government policy of allowing Christians from the Gaza Strip to pray at Israeli and West Bank holy sites, and denying the enclave’s Muslims the same right. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal lodged by six Gaza Muslims and Israeli non-governmental…

Greek authorities conducting mass arrests of undocumented immigrants

Greek authorities have begun one of the country’s biggest crackdowns yet on suspected illegal immigrants, deploying 4,500 police around Athens and detaining more than 7,000 immigrants in less than 72 hours. Most have been released, but about 2,000, mostly Africans and Asians, were arrested. They were sent to holding centres…

French mafia figure gunned down in broad daylight at butcher shop

BASTIA, France — An alleged key figure in one of Corsica’s most powerful crime families, Maurice Costa of the “Brise de Mer” gang, was gunned down in broad daylight Tuesday at his local butcher shop, police said. Two masked gunmen shot and killed Costa, 60, at 11:08 am (0908 GMT)…

Pharma giant Pfizer fined for bribing officials in Eastern Europe and China

The US charged Pfizer and its subsidiary Wyeth on Tuesday with paying millions of dollars in bribes to build their business in Eastern Europe and China, and set hefty fines on the two to settle the charges. The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission both said Pfizer subsidiaries…

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